Spolier Alert: For people who never played Airport Mania on the iPhone, 5 stars. Fans of the iPhone version may be slightly disappointed.
And if you don’t have Let’s Create! Pottery already, the new release makes it an absolute best buy.
It’s game day Friday and I am pleased to announce, well, mostly pleased to announce, that Reflexive Entertainment finally listened to my whining and released Airport Mania HD, the iPad version of one of my favorite iPhone games. As if that wasn’t enough to make my week, Let’s Create! Pottery released a new version that pretty much includes every thing I asked for in my review of the original.
Since I’ve already reviewed both apps already, I thought I would wrap them both into a single follow up review. But both update releases deserve reviewing, which I can’t honestly say of most apps.
Aimport Mania HD is almost exactly the same as the original Airport Mania. This capsulizes both the good news and the bad news. The good news is that it’s a great game in HD. The bad news is that is brings absolutely nothing new to current players except that it’s in HD, which means playing it could be a little bit of a letdown.
The graphics are spectacular. Any pixelization caused by viewing the game in 2x mode on the iPad is gone. And the background animations with the sun rising, the sky color changing and other effects are even more spectacular. Of course, this isn’t too hard since the graphics were very clean and simple to start with, but compared to other HD upgrades, such as Paranormal Agency where the original graphics often remain intact, the extra effort is appreciated.
The HD version looks great on the iPad screen
and the angry planes even more hostile.
The original game looked good on the iPad but not as good.
But with a couple of small exceptions, the game plays exactly the way it did before. If you haven’t played, the idea is to land planes, unload passengers and get them back in the air with as few delays as possible. This task becomes increasingly difficult because planes break down and run out of gas. The runways may freeze over or be closed because of wind and fog.
The longer they wait, the more likely it will be that the cute smiling planes turn to snarling angry planes, and if they get too angry they may take off for another airport. The longer the delays, the less the passengers are willing to pay which means you lose money.
In addition, you want to keep planes of the same color moving in and out of the same terminals. The more planes of the same color unload at a terminal, the more points you earn. This becomes a little complicated when you have four or five plane colors and three terminals.
You can also upgrade your airport with VIP layover lanes, coffee and movies for planes waiting to land, and blow dryers and fans for the runways. You can even paint planes different colors to hit more combinations at the same terminal.
The HD version is more challenging to play than the iPhone version. I don’t recall having more than two planes in line for the gas station in line very often on the original. It’s quite common to have three or four planes lined up for gas and repair even at early levels of the HD version. In addition, the painting lane becomes available a little earlier, although I haven’t found it to be all that helpful.
The real addition to the HD game is the ability to purchase radar which will tell you the colors of the next four incoming planes. This helps a little when planning your combinations, but it also adds one more level of distraction to an already busy game. I like the addition, but players that don’t can simply not buy it as one of their airport management tools.
The HD version includes radar to provide advance warning of the coming plane’s colors.
I honestly have to say that when I finally played the HD version, I felt slightly disappointed. I expected a little more in an HD upgrade. On the other hand, the HD version is only two dollars, the same as the iPhone version. And I have to admit that had I never played it on the iPhone I would have been far more excited by the HD version and probably have found the game more challenging to play.
If you’ve never played Airport Mania before this is a must buy. If you loved your iPhone version, you may wish the developers had charged more and gone for something grander. But you’ll still be glad you bought the HD version.
Let’s Create! Pottery
The LCP developers showed the ambition Airport Mania’s developers lacked when they released the newest version, remarkably soon after the initial release. They are now calling it a game and to justify this they have developed an online community driven by Facebook to upload your pottery and compete for awards and prizes.
This was one of my biggest requests in my review of the original and I’m thrilled thay the followed up so quickly.
The pottery game sitefeatures contests and galleries of players’ pots
No one has rated the pots in my gallery yet,
so go online and tell them how much you love my work
In fact they followed up so quickly, the initial upgrade was a mess. It was klutzy, didn’t work in portrait mode, didn’t paint well and you couldn’t hide some of the interface elements even when they interfered with the casting and painting process. To be honest, had I reviewed LCP before this week, I would have panned the app. By the time I returned from vacation to write this review, everything was fixed, so they earned my respect back doubly.
If only Apple could respond as quickly as these guys.
If only Apple would respond at all.
If you missed my first review, LCP is elegant but simple. You begin with a block of clay and a potter’s wheel. You shape the clay into any pot you want then fire it, paint it and sell it. You use the virtual money you earn from sales to buy more expensive decorative elements.
The new release actually adds a number of decorative elements, including different clay materials and ornaments such as handles and lids. As with paints and brushes, you have to sell quite a few pots to amass a library of ornaments and clays.
The newest release features more casting materials and ornaments.
There are only two bugs they haven’t fixed in the recent patch release. The first is the tendency to freeze the pot in its current state so that you can’t undo your latest modification. This really becomes a problem when the second bug occurs, which is to leave a small fragment of the brush you selected around the bottom of the pot. You can’t fix this. The best you can hope for is to match the brush to the exact location of the original and overstamp it (which still kind of sucks if you didn’t want that brush at the bottom) or to cover it with a solid black brush. Which still kind of sucks if you didn’t want a brush at the bottom of the base.
I also noticed that the online photographs crop out the very top of tall pots, which is a shame because some of the nicest pots become so because of excellent work around the mouth and rim. This also crops out the ornamental lids. I personally would like to see the developers pull back the virtual camera just a bit so that every element of every pot will be displayed in the online photos.
I also wish you could save basic pottery shapes to use again, and it would be nice if you could capture the vases from more than one angle in the online photos.
The developers also added a gallery for pots you want to keep. (Okay, they may have had this all along and I just realized what it is because I’m still a Mac user and still believe you should never have to read the manual.) But if you create that really special pot, you can keep it in your gallery and see it in full 3D at any time, including the ability to rotate and view from most angles. You can still share it, but be aware that once you sell a pot, it’s gone for good.
Still, LCP is a marvelous product. It’s replaced Mondo Solitaire as my favorite app of all time and I find myself casting pottery whenever I have a spare moment. I don’t believe the developers intended it as a stress management app, but for me it’s far more relaxing than raking virtual sand or petting virtual koi.
Jenny Manytoes rates Aimport Mania HD and Let’s Create! Pottery
Jenny Manytoes would cover both apps in claw marks because she loves to make biscuits in them.